About 25 DNCBers spent a glorious Wednesday morning in Blackie Spit Park in South Surrey last week. We had some neat sightings; check them out on our Flickr site at: https://www.flickr.com/search/?group_id=3027315%40N23&text=2018-31&view_all=1.
Ten of us car-pooled from Petra’s at 7:30 a.m. and arrived early, around 8 a.m. at the Blackie Spit parking lot. The tide was high and we feared we wouldn’t see many birds. Then, right in front of us, posing on a fence post was a Bonaparte’s Gull in full breeding plumage. As others arrived and following the customary introductory gabfest, we began our walk out the spit. Not much activity, but we spotted a few Greater Yellowlegs in the grass with Killdeer nearby. Some found Savannah Sparrows on the walk out, but no large flocks of shorebirds that we kind of hoped for and expected. Then the “resident” Long-billed Curlew arrived and our excitement began. David took the Group Photo as we sat on a log in these beautiful surroundings.
Walking back to the parking lot, we noticed a few California Gulls among the flock of Ring-billed Gulls. While examining the identification differences, a hawk landed near to where the Curlew was seen. Some raced to see it, while others remained at the “ID Course”. Subsequent photos by Richmond Brian and Pat S of a Cooper’s Hawk with it’s captured Rabbit prey in its claws proved that we should have joined them. Check out the photos on Flickr, especially Brian’s shot of the bird and prey just above Maureen’s head, a potential award-winning photo.
We continued on the trail toward Rene Sevenye park. Some saw a few other common little birds, Finches, Sparrows, Bushtits, Rufous Hummingbirds, etc. A large flock (~20) of Great Blue Herons was enjoying morning tea together near some feeding Yellowlegs. We were able to pick out a few Lesser Yellowlegs among the Greaters. Meanwhile, lots of Purple Martins still around, including on their nest boxes. And Swallows (Barn, Tree and Violet-green) were also hawking insects above the mud.
We followed the trail along the slough to the new Pumphouse then Dunsmuir Community Gardens. Only Mallards in the slough, and we were blanked on other colourful birds we often see here, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers. A flock of Dowitchers flew by, probably Long-billed. And the flowers and other plants in the Gardens were brilliant. We got a bit excited with American Goldfinches and Cedar Waxwings in one tree. Langley Guru Gareth pointed out an Asparagus Beetle on where else, an Asparagus plant. Others posed humorously beside Plastic Owls.
We got back to the parking lot about 11:15 a.m. and 13 of us, including New Yorker Caroline and her visiting South African Rugby 7’s junkies, decided to retire to the Townhall Public House on King George Highway for lunch. We had been here several times before, and I again enjoyed the fish and chips with two sleeves of their house lager, very reasonably priced for some of us cheapskates. I was home by 1:30 p.m. with the Iced Cap and sour cream glazed donut for Sandra, and in time for grandkid afternoon pick-up at camp and daycare. It’s a Wonderful Life!
We 26 on the outing and/or at lunch were: our Photogs Ladner Jack, Richmond Brian, sisters Pat & Maureen, David & Noreen, Glen B, Langley Gareth, webmaster Ken & Anne and Terry C, the New Yorkers Chief Bill & Caroline with their 3 South African “7’s” guests including the diminutive Viccy B, Motorcycle Roy, South Surrey Julie, PB Lorna, Johnny Mac, Mike B2, Roger K2, Langley Joanne R, Guru Anne M and me.
Check out our website for more info on outings, reports and photos at: www.dncb.wordpress.com. As always, your comments are encouraged. Cheers: Tom
Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society